The sands of Tatooine are not to be traversed lightly. Mos Eisley may be the home of “scum and villainy”, but it is the monsters hidden below the sands that are the real threat. Newly self-appointed Daimyo of Mos Espa, Boba Fett, is learning that this holds true in both the literal and metaphorical sense. As Qui-Gon would say, “There’s always a bigger sand monster.”
The first three episodes of The Book of Boba Fett have been permeated with this idea; each time it seems as if the real threat has been exposed, a new threat arises. This challenges the audience’s perception of what the threat to Lord Fett truly is and puts the protagonist on unstable ground, making the story more enticing moving forward.
In the first episode, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, Boba Fett faces three very different types of monsters. First is the Sarlacc, from which Fett burns his way to be reborn, his hand emerging from the sands like a zombie in a horror film. The Sarlacc is not the real threat, Boba Fett is; he is a badass killing machine.
Except that he is not. He is birthed from the sands only to be too weak to continue forward, having his armor and identity stripped from him. He is then taken by the second “monster” in the episode, the Tusken Raiders. Audiences have been conditioned to see the “sand people” as ‘“vicious, mindless monsters.” For a while, it seems as if this assertion is correct, as Boba Fett is beaten, tied up, and forced to fight. What neither Fett nor the audience knows at the time is that it is a test. A test he passes when he defeats the third monster of the episode, the six-armed monster that emerges from under Tatooine’s sands.
This monster is critical to understand, as it foreshadows what is to come for Boba Fett. For one, this monster is hidden and emerges as Boba is searching for water, symbolic of the life he is trying to sustain. Said monster can also attack from many different angles, as the threats he faces as Daimyo do. Likewise, he uses his chains to kill the monster, much like Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi, to save the Tusken youngling.
Saving the young Tusken is symbolic of Boba saving his younger self, the mindless monster that was created in the Geonosis arena after his father was decapitated. From that arena came a different Boba, a villainous monster that the series is very clearly working to humanize and redefine, just as it does for the indigenous Tuskens.
As Daimyo, Fett is learning that what seems like the real threat almost never is. When the Twins arrive to threaten his throne, Black Krrsantan emerges from behind them, a visual metaphor for what audiences find out in the next episode. The Hutts are not the real threat. Another syndicate, dangerous enough to scare the Hutts off, has laid claim to Tatooine.
The easy answer is that this threat is the Pykes, but that becomes harder to accept when looking at the larger narrative of the saga. The Pykes are almost comically defeated in Clone Wars and Solo, not to mention in The Book Of Boba Fett itself, making selling them as the big bad an unnecessarily uphill task. Rather, the series will likely hold to its theme that a bigger threat is always lurking in the shadows.
To deal with this threat, and win the war that is coming, Boba Fett must conquer his inner monster, represented by the rancor. After the events of Return of the Jedi, Jabba’s rancor pit is empty, much like his throne, leaving a vacuum for a new monster to fill. The obvious answer is that Boba Fett is the monster to fill it, but this new version of Boba is “quite peaceful unless threatened.”
Boba Fett is clearly being threatened. Is that threat the Pykes, or will a new threat Dawn? The sands only know.